Many years ago, I was on a family vacation in Sequoia, a beautiful national park abundantly filled with massive trees and inviting lakes. One day, we were splashing about in one of the swimming holes and happened upon a small cliff that people were jumping from. Judging from the laughing and the revelry, everyone was having a blast, and so someone in our group suggested that we, too, take the leap. Not one to put a damper on anyone’s ideas or suggestions (I am an Includer after all), I readily agreed and scrambled up the bank with everyone else, preparing to make the dive.
I watched as the line grew shorter and the ledge grew closer and a familiar knot of apprehension (read: growing terror), made itself known in my stomach. Then, it was my turn. I looked down. Way down. Everyone’s eyes were on me, anticipating my jump. The person behind me impatiently sighed, waiting for their turn. I froze. I could not bring myself to jump off the ledge. I made a few more feeble attempts and each time I began to even twitch my toe toward the edge, I would stop, paralyzed by fear. I grew increasingly aware that I was holding up the line at this point, but even the pressure of the people behind me didn’t give me the motivation to jump. They began to move around me, shaking their heads and effortlessly leaping off.
No matter how many people around me jumped and landed safely in the water, I had visions of me tumbling too close to the rocks and cracking my head open. Or jumping and hitting my head on the bottom and cracking my head open. Or jumping into someone and cracking both our heads open. I stood up there for what seemed like a lifetime, trying to psych myself up to take the one step away from safety and into the unknown. My (then) husband offered to jump with me and held my hand, but each time we began to move closer to the ledge, I would pull back, stopped by fear. I stood on that ledge for 15 long minutes, before I finally forced my protesting body to propel myself forward and downward into the unknown. And you know what happened?
Absolutely nothing. I landed just like everyone else, in the water, head intact.
How many times do you let fear paralyze you from taking action, only to find that your fears were completely unfounded? Too many times to count over here.
Many fears stem from the scarcity mindset. We fear that we won’t or don’t have enough, aren’t good enough, that there is never enough. That fear makes us anxious, and it holds us back, just toeing the ledge, peering over and hoping that we won’t crack our heads open when we jump…if we jump.
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Living With Scarcity
Most of my life, I’ve lived with a scarcity mindset. Scarcity comes from fear – fear of the unknown, of the what ifs, and the not good enoughs. This is why I like to plan everything out. I try to fit my entire life neatly in my Law of Attraction Planner, color-coded (of course) and scheduled down to the minute practically. I wake up each morning at 5:00 am, by 5:07, I am downstairs meditating, setting intentions, reading and writing. I leave for work at 8:15 am, and well, you get the point. I like to have control of my life, I like to know what is happening when it’s happening, and I try to control how it’s happening too. My last vacation in Washington DC, I handed out color-coded itineraries to my family, with exactly where we were going each day. I didn’t want to miss a thing while we were there.
I like information, and I like to process it neatly into my planner because it makes me feel efficient and safe.The unknown is uncomfortable and downright scary. So, jumping without a net, without knowing every detail of all the possible head-smashing scenarios is very scary for me and something I rarely like to do. But recently, I had to make a BIG decision without all the information. Then I realized that by trying to wait to make a decision, I was living in fear and with a scarcity mindset. If I wanted to continue to cultivate an abundance mindset, I needed to step off that ledge, and trust that everything would work out.
Cultivating An Abundance Mindset
The opposite of scarcity is abundance. My “guiding word” for this year is ABUNDANCE. Guiding words have become a trend, replacing those resolutions that are forgotten about the third week of January by 80% of resolutioners (I made that percentage up, but I suspect it’s pretty accurate). A guiding word is a word that you choose (or it chooses you) to focus on and to guide you in your goals, intentions, and decisions. I chose my guiding word around my birthday in September, as that is the time of year I set my goals and intentions for the following year.
And just like any pursuit that is worthwhile in life, cultivating an abundance mindset isn’t always easy. Giving money away when there is $0.03 in your bank account or choosing to trust instead of fear is challenging. Getting rid of the lifelong scarcity mindset that is your default takes work, a lot of faith, and the willingness to take the leap, hoping that you’ll end up okay (spoiler alert: you almost always do).
So, How Do You Cultivate An Abundance Mindset?
1. Practice Gratitude
If you only do one thing to work on cultivating an abundance mindset, let the practice of gratitude be it. If we’d stop and think of all the things we take for granted each day, we could fill volumes. The problem is, most of us live in such scarcity mindsets that our default is to see what we don’t have and complain about it. I’ve heard people try to one-up each other on who is more broke or who has it worse. Shoot, I’ve been a part of many of those debates, trying to one-up someone else on how terrible my life was. I used to do it all the time, actually. But now, I’m working on being grateful all the time and experiencing the world through the eyes of an optimistic lens.
Each morning, after doing some meditating, I write down three things I am grateful for. Then I set an intention to have an abundant day. It gets my mind in the right place to have an amazing day! Try it and see how different your mindset can be when you view life with appreciation instead of expectation.
2. Surround Yourself With The Right People
Do you ever find yourself around someone who is super negative about everything all the time? Do you find yourself easily sucked into that bitch-about-it fest and before you know it, there you are venting right along? Some people are energy vampires (they suck the good energy from you) and those are the people you need to watch out for if you want to cultivate an abundance mindset. Now, I am not saying that a vent sesh now and again is not allowed, but once you’ve let out the negativity, fill back up with positivity.
[RELATED POST: When YOU’RE The Toxic Person In Your Life…(And How To Change It)]
If you surround yourself with the right people, such as those that are also seeking an abundance mindset, it will not only help you in your abundance mindset quest, but they will keep you in check when you find yourself in the complaining trap. As the popular saying goes, “You become like the five people you spend the most time with.” If you want to cultivate an abundance mindset, surround yourself with people that have (or are seeking to have) that same mindset. In September, I joined a mastermind group of incredible ladies with an incredible mission. They have kept me accountable to my goals, and together we have accomplished some pretty incredible world-changing and life-changing things. (If you’re a woman looking to make an impact, check out the Integrous Women community here).
3. Meditate and Reflect
I used to think that I “couldn’t” meditate, that it was boring, and my mind wanders too much. Well, duh. It wanders because I’ve never trained it not to wander. I’ve been slowly learning to meditate these last few month by using some guided meditation apps (Simple Habits and Headspace), and it’s honestly the part of my day that I look forward to the most. I’m typically a very high-strung person, and since starting meditation, I find myself in a place of more calm and peace, even in a stressful or upsetting situation. Each morning, when the world is quiet, I diffuse some essential oils, sit on my couch, and meditate. (It sounds a little woo-woo, but it has surprisingly been really fulfilling just to sit there and try to think about nothing).
Reflection is also very important. At my bi-weekly Integrous Women meeting, we are constantly reflecting and evaluating our goals, our intentions, and our lives to make sure we are on track to success. Some people reflect once a year, some once a month, some once a day. I do a major reflection around my birthday, a medium-sized reflection once a month as prompted by my journal, and every two weeks, at my mastermind meeting. Without reflection, you can’t always recall what you’ve learned and be able to find ways to tweak what you’re doing so you can reach your goals faster.
4. Give More
Giving comes from abundance, get comes from lack. All my life, I’ve had a lack mindset, especially when it came to money. There never seemed to be enough. Because of this, I decided to give money away for 40 days (you can read about it here).
If you are also struggling with a lack mindset, I highly recommend reading/listening to, “You Are A Badass At Making Money” by Jen Sincero. I’ve listened to the audiobook twice already and plan on reading it every quarter. It’s funny, has easy to do action steps, and will change your mindset about money, if you let it.
5. Find Ways To Grow
Growing hurts. My now teenager used to complain all the time about growing pains as her body stretched and changed as she grew taller. Just like growing pains, when we mentally and spiritually grow, it’s hard, and it can be uncomfortable. When we focus on self-development, whether through books, podcasts, meditation, reflection, conversations, or life justs smacks us in the butt, it’s challenging. The reward comes from the other side of the journey when your hard-earned lessons have produced a rich wisdom that you can carry with you for the rest of your life!
So, go find something hard to do – whether it’s reading a challenging book, being vulnerable to your friends, waking up an hour earlier and learning how to meditate, signing up for a half marathon or Spartan Race, or finally forgiving and letting go someone who has hurt you deeply, be proactive in your growth mentally, spiritually and physically.
6. Take The Leap
Do you live your life worrying about the what ifs? I typically do (and it’s something I am working on). As mentioned above, I like to have everything planned out. It makes me feel safe, but how many things do I miss out on because I’m standing on the ledge, too scared to take the leap when I cannot see the bottom? I mean, what if there’s no net??!
My recent affirmation has been to choose to “trust and not fear.” I’ve been making decisions and choosing to not worry about what *might* happen and focusing on trusting that what’s supposed to happen will happen. In short, I’ve been choosing to live in abundance and not scarcity.
What started out as a 300-word max blog post I started writing three weeks ago, has become this 2k+ word article! I guess I’ve learned a lot in the last four months of pursuing an abundance mindset! I can honestly tell you that working on an cultivating an abundance mindset has CHANGED MY LIFE! I’m not only inwardly calmer, happier, more at peace, and more fulfilled, I got an incredible job offer for basically my dream job, doing exactly what I love! I was able to quit an unsatisfying job that made me feel trapped and unhappy and now am working for a wonderful and fun company. My relationships are deeper and richer, and I am filled with so much gratitude for everything in my life. And all it took was ONE DECISION – the decision to change my mindset and pursue abundance. I hope those that are suffering in a scarcity mindset will be inspired to do the same.